Showing posts with label war games. Show all posts
Showing posts with label war games. Show all posts

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

The Battle of Ooderen :The Spanish Netherlands, June 31st 1703

The details of this clash of arms is a bit sparse in English sources, so this is my interpretation of the events leading up to this battle. Some of the details could be wrong.

 This battle was one of many in what is known as The Malburian Wars or The War of the Spanish Succession. The British and Dutch were fighting the French. Louis the 14th had sent his army North, to invade the Spanish Netherlands, which roughly equates to the country of Belgium in present times.

The Dutch government had sent their army South  into the Netherlands to try and forestall the French army in its advance. The British General, The Duke of Marlborough had warned General Obdam the Dutch General not to advance to far.

Obdam disregarded the Dukes advise wanting to show that the Dutch did not need the British to give them instructions. At this time the country of Holland was known as The United Provinces.

The French C-in-C, the Duc De Boufflers was no fool and as the Dutch army advanced saw an opportunity to surround it. At Eckeren this manoeuvre came about.

Realising what was happening, Obdam with his army tried to fight his way out of the encirclement. First, he directed an attack against Eckeren  but the French forced the Dutch to retreat. Next, he directed an attack against Hoevenen, but this was not pushed home.

Hoevenen was where the majority of the French Cavalry was stationed. The area consisted of open country. The Dutch Generals realised that their mainly infantry army would be cut to pieces if caught in open country in marching column.

The Dutch Army was camped in enclosed territory ideal for defense but they were surrounded on three sides with their backs to the Scheldt river ( pro: Skeld ).

The Dutch Commander knew there was only one thing he could do; he deserted!!.

Disguising himself as a French Officer, Obdam went South, leaving his Officers and the army in a dire situation. Luckily for the Dutch troops, the second in command, General Slangenburg was made of sterner stuff,.

He realised that the only way out was through Ooderen. When the Scheldt river was at low ebb, the polder (a very large drainage gully ) near the village would be passable.

Even at low tide the drainage ditch and the dike further east would be an obstacle for cavalry so would provide some defence should the Duc De Merode become aware of the Dutch manouvres.

Having decided on a plan General Slangenburg and his fellow General Friesham got the army moving.

The Army of The United Provinces ( Holland)

8,500 foot ( inc; Generals and Artillery) = 8.5 points x  4 = 34 points.

1,500 Horse= 1.5 x 4= 6 points.

1 General ( Slangenburg) @ 2points.

1 General (Friesham) @ 1 point.

3 stands of Cavalry @ 2 points = 6 points.

3 stands of Light artillery @ 1 point = 3points.

2 stands of Grenadier infantry @ 4 points =8 points.

10 stands of Line Infantry @ 2 points = 20 points.

The French "Division" at Ooderen.

9,500 Foot = 9.5 x 4 = 38 points ( inc Generals and Artillery ).

2000 Horse = 2 points x 4 = 8 points.

1 General ( the Duc De Villaroi ) @ 1 point.

2 stands of Heavy Field Guns @ 2points = 4 points.

8 stands of Line Infantry @ 3 points = 24 points.

1 stand of Dismounted Dragoons @ 1 point.

2 Stands of Grenadier Infantry @ 4 points = 8 points.

4 stands of Cavalry @ 2 points = 8 points.

Here is a map of the battle;

The battlefield;


The Dutch get the Initiative Point on every  Game-Turn. This is for their bravery born out of desperation and for the French not expecting the Dutch to attack!.

Any stands being forced into the water West of the village bridge will be lost. This was the flood plain of the Scheldt so very deep and soft mud. The left side of the board from the Dutch base edge is river so stands will be lost if they are forced to retire off that side.

Any Dutch stands retiring over the dike will be lost ( they would eventually be caught by the French troops to the East).

The polder East of the Bridge is treated as a river that under the rules can be crossed with penalties.

The winner of the battle after 8 Game-Turns will be the side with the least number of stands lost and/or the Dutch have stands on the bridge at the village. The Dutch have only one way to go. That is North.

The other parts of The French Army didn't take part in the battle. I'm surmising that either Generals Boufflers and Merode assumed that General Villeroi could defeat the Dutch ,or, the acoustics of the area muffled the sound of the battle.

General De Bedmar,s Spanish " Division" was at Wilmarsdonk to the South, but he did not move. I'm assuming that he also thought that Generals Villaroi and Merode would be able to stop the Dutch escaping.

For completeness, here is my interpretation of the remainder of the Franco/ Spanish Army;

The French "Division" at Hoevenen

6,500 horse = 6.5 points x 4 = 26 points.

1 General ( Merode) @ 1 point.

8 stands of Cavalry @ 3 points = 24 points.

1 stand of Mounted Dragoons @ 1 point.

The French "Division " at Eckeren.

11,000 Foot ( inc: Generals and Artillery)= 11 points x 4 = 44 points.

2,000 Horse = 2 points x 4 = 8 points.

1 General, C-in-C ( Boufflers) @1 point.

1 stand of Heavy Artillery @ 2points.

3 stands of Light Artillery @ 1 point = 3 points.

2 stands of Grenadier Infantry @ 4 points = 8 points.

10 stands of Line Infantry @ 3 points = 30 points.

4 stands of Cavalry @ 2 points = 8 points.

The Spanish "Division" at Wilmarsdonk.

8,500 Foot ( inc: Artillery and Generals = 8.5 points x 4 = 34 points. 

1,500 Horse = 1.5 x 4 = 6 points.

1 General ( De Bedmar) @ 1 point.

2 stands of Grenadier Infantry @ 4 points = 8 points.

7 stands of Line Infantry @ 3 points = 21 points.

4 stands of Light Artillery @ 1 point = 4 points.

3 stands of Cavalry @ 2 points = 6 points.


I set this battle up on a 2 foot (60cm) x 2 foot (60cm) board as there seem to be very little manoeuvring space according to one Period map I have seen.

The figures are mostly Miniature Figurines with some from Peter Pig and Essex Miniatures. They represent the middle 18th century rather than the earlier Malburian era.

The buildings are from Total Battle Miniatures. The bridge at the village is scratchbuilt, as are the dike sections. The rivers and roads are thin card.

The bases of the figures are made from picture framing card and the round 40mm mdf  bases are from Minibits


Monday, 27 April 2020

Battle of South Mountain; Maryland September 14th 1862

This battle came about as General Lee closed in on Harper's Ferry. He wanted to use the location as a base for further operations in Union held territory.

General Lee issued his General Order 191 detailing his plans to capture this Union base. Unfortunately a copy of this order was obtained by the Union Army.

The exact circumstances surrounding this incident have never been fully discovered, nonetheless, this opportunity to attack the Confederate army while it was dispersed was not to be missed.

The Union General Ambrose Burnside realised that he had the key to stopping Lee,s manoeuvres.

As the Union 1st and 9th Corps closed in, General Lee was informed of that his orders had been intercepted so made his dispositions accordingly.

Lee and his Generals realised that any Union forces would have to come through the passes of the Blue Ridge Mountains, specifically, Turner Gap and Fox,s Gap.

Confederate General Daniel Harvey Hill,s Division was the nearest formation to the passes and so he was given the task of defending them so that the rest of the army could concentrate on Harper's Ferry.

On inspecting the ground General Hill realised the enormity of the task he had been given. In order to cover the passes he had to spread out his Division quite thinly to cover the ground North to South along the crest of the mountain.

Daniel Harvey Hill,s Confederate Division.
5 Brigades : 7,000 = 7 points x 2= 14 points.

General Daniel Harvey Hill @ 1 point.
General George Anderson @ 1 point.

10 stands of Line Infantry @ 1 point = 10 points. ( these can move as Skirmishers).
2 stands of Light Artillery @ 1 point = 2 points.

I gave the infantry stands a value of 1 point as Hill's Division had to spread out to cover a lot of ground making the formations a bit weak.

During the battle Longstreets Division
did some hard marching in order to support
Hill. The Brigades from Longstreets Division
that made it came in piecemeal to Hills
position ;

11,000 = 11 points x 2 = 22 points.

4 stands of Line Infantry @ 3 points each = 12 points.
3 stands of Line Infantry @ 2 points each = 6 points.
2 stands of Light Artillery @ 1 point = 2 points.

The Union Army.
Ambrose Burnside.
28,000 = 28 points x 2= 56 points.

General Alfred Pleasontons
Cavalry Corps.
3 stands of Cavalry @ 2 points = 6 pts.
( represented dismounted @ 1 point each).

Left Wing ; 9th Corp.
General Jesse L. Reno. @ 1 point.
General Jacob D. Cox @ 1 point.

9 stands of Line Infantry @ 2 points = 18 points.
2 stands of Light Artillery @ 1 point = 2 points.

General Pleasontons cavalry was sent in first
in skirmish order.

Reno,s Corps then moved forward on the left,
but the attack slowed and became fragmented
because of the broken terrain.

General Burnside eventually came up to
the battlefield and gave Hooker the orders to
attack the left flank of the Confederate position
to support Reno.

Right Wing ; 1st Corp.
General Joseph Hooker @ 1 point.

6 stands of Line Infantry @ 3 points = 18 points.
3 stands of Line Infantry @ 2 points = 6 points.
3 stands of Light Horse Artillery @ 1 point = 3 points.

Here is the map;

At the top of the map are the Confederate reinforcements.
From the start of the third Game-Turn and at the start of the Confederate  moving phase, a 6 sided die is thrown for each stand. On a roll of a 5 or 6 that stand can be moved forward into the Confederate battle line.

This is done on every Confederate movement

For the Union Army;

On the 1st Game Turn only Pleasontons
cavalry can move.

On the 2nd Game Turn, Pleasontons
cavalry and 9th  Corp.

On the 3rd Game Turn, all the Union
army can move.

All the Artillery have a range of 4 squares
due to the terrain limiting the gunners view.

Here is the table laid up ready for battle;

The view is from behind the Confederate position.
I have truncated the battlefield a bit i.e.,
Boonsboro is closer than it should be.

The Confederate reinforcements are those
stands behind the hills at the bottom of the picture.

There were some farms amongst the broken
terrain on South Mountain. The Confederate troops of Hill,s  Division took up position behind some stone walls so these are represented on the table. Shooting at a target behind these deduct 2 points from a firing die.

All muskets are 3 squares range.
Cavalry carbine are 2 squares.

 Brigades from Longstreets Division and the
Union 1st Corp did not come into the field until later in the day. I thought it would make for an easier set up if all the stands required were present on the board.

This engagement can be fought with the respective movements as detailed, or as a straight forward battle.

The battle is 8 GameTurns. The Union army
wins if they can  cause more casualties
to the Confederate army and/or drive them
off the ridge.

The Confederates win if they still hold the ridge in superior numbers of stands to that of the Union army at the end of the 8th Game Turn..

General Reno lost his life in this battle as did a number of Brigade commanders on both sides.

As before the table is 3 feet x 2 feet ( 90cm x  60cm ) and my own interpretation of events.

The figures are 15mm Peter Pig and Miniature Figurines. The flags are from Peter pig.
The Hills are from Essex Miniatures some years back. Trees from various sources. I think the walls were from Tiger Terrain.

Monday, 6 April 2020

The Battle of Friedlingen. Breisgau 14th October 1702.

As the War of the Spanish Succession unfolded, military formations of The Hapsberg Empire moved to cover the crossings of the river Rhine and to threaten Alsace.

In order to break this deadlock the French King sent an Army through Huningue across the Rhine into Breisgau.

South of the river Weisse the country belonged to the Swiss. The French General, De Villars had previously  sought permission from the Cantons to pass through their territory in order to execute a wide flanking march to the North East. Permission was denied.

Although De Villars could see that he had limited space to deploy his Army,  he still led his forces out to do battle. If he was to win, the situation would undermine the Austrian blockade of the Rhine crossings.

The Imperial Austrian Army;

9,000 Infantry = 9 points x 4 = 36 points.

5, 000 Cavalry = 5 points x 4 = 20 points.

C-in-C; Louis William of Baden = 1 point.
General Claude De Mercy = 1 point.

Fort Friedlingen;

1 Heavy artillery stand @ 2 points.
1 stand of Line Infantry @ 3 points.

In the field;

2 stands of Grenadier infantry @ 4 points = 8 points.

7 stands of Line Infantry @ 3 points = 21 points.

4 stands of Line Cavalry @ 3 points = 12 points.

3 stands of Line Dragoons @ 2 points = 6 points.

2 stands of Light Artillery @ 1 point = 2 points.

The French Army;

6,000 Cavalry; 6 points x 4 = 24 points.

11,000 Infantry; 11 points x 4 = 44 points.

C-in-C; Claude Louis Hector De Villars = 1 point.
General Desbordes = 1 point.

Garrison of Huningue;

1 stand of Grenadier Infantry = 4 points.
2 stands of Heavy Artillery @2 points = 4 points.

Field Army;

6 stands of Line Cavalry @ 3 points = 18 points.

2 stands of Line Dragoon Cavalry @ 2 points = 4 points.

11 stands of Line Infantry @ 3 points = 33 points.

3 stands of Light Artillery @ 1 point = 3 points.


●The French Army moves first on the first Game-Turn. All subsequent
Game-turns are diced for.

● The River Canderne can be crossed by infantry and cavalry. The artillery
must cross by the bridge.

● Any French stands forced to enter the River Weisse will be lost.

In the original battle  the French Infantry pushed up Tollingen Hill as the Austrian Army advanced.

De Villars had to intervene when his infantry started to retire under pressure from the Austrians opposite their position.

The Austrian Cavalry put in a half - hearted charge but soon retired.

Fort Friedlingen was also known as Fort De  Etoile or the Sternschanze ( Starsconce). According to an old map I've seen it is portrayed as a rectangular star shape.

I used a rectangular fort- style building. There was a marshy stream running
parallel with the base of the hill West of fort Friedlingen and I have portrayed part of it.
Any unit moving into the marshy ground can only move one square per game-turn.

Here is the map;

Some of the information presented here, I wasn't sure about but the battle seems to work so I I'm  going with this;

Once again, the battle is on a 3 foot x 2 foot board and the figures are a mix of Miniature Figurines and Peter Pig. The table is shown from the Austrian position.
Here's a few more;

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

The Paint Job.

Yes, the paint job. Now, having perused the 
war gaming journals, it should be a doddle, Right! Well it can be. These days there are a fair number of online blogs and material in print that show you in great detail how to paint your figures. The people who write them know their stuff garnered through experience. The bottom line is to get the toys on the table!

This is my own method of getting them done. I have,nt got any facilities for spraying so I have to use brushes. Years ago there were only enamel paints, and many are the nights I stayed up to the early hours of the morning getting bombed out on the smell!!, then going to work with a headache!! Thank You to the Inventor of acrylics!! With acrylics you wash your brushes in water. The turpentine rinse has been consigned to history!

For the wee men from 2mm to 12mm I use a mid brown undercoat. For 15mm I use brown or white. For 20mm plastic I use brown. The reason for not using black is that I cannot see the detail even under a good light. The black seems to " absorb the light ". Using some sort of medium colour as an undercoat also means you don't have to be to accurate when applying the paint.

For the 20mm plastics, I get em' out the box and wash them in warm soapy water with a scrubbing brush. When they are dry, I cut them off the spruce and take off the flash, then I stick any bits together with Evostick or whichever universal glue you are familiar with. I then stick the figures to strips of cardboard. (Que dodgy photo at the top of this blog!). These are Taiashi Camels by Hat Industries. The spears are cut down javelin from North Star Miniatures.

Once they have dried I brush each figure with runny PVA GLUE. This dries pretty quickly and gives the paint something to stick to. I then undercoat with brown paint.

When I've  painted the figures, I  coat each figure with acrylic Gloss varnish. I do this to protect the figure because being a bit bendy it keeps the paint in place.

Now, I know that if you are just starting out your first paint job. Don't worry. Remember the idea is you are painting to play, not to display! You want numbers. For example, I don't bother with things like eyes and buttons. My own figures are painted for wargaming ( i.e. not brilliant!).

I dont want to bore you to death, so I'll try to be as succinct as I can. Firstly the 2/ 12mm figures. After cleaning any flash, I tack the metal figures to strips of cardboard using glue. Some people use blu-tack on milk bottle tops. Next I undercoat them brown and let them dry. I will say here that I prep ALL the figures before I start painting. Again it's a psychological thing with me. If you have to stop for any reason, it's hard to get going again. The boring bit is the prep work so I try to get through a.s.a.p.

Ok, now, having undercoated I start with the bits I can ACTUALLY SEE. I dab colour on ALL trousers, then ALL jackets. You get the picture.

Next, dab on the flesh for the face. This is the point where you can say" My army lives"!!!!! It's Alive!!.  Que: thunder and lightning  and maniacal crackling. Not to much. You might frighten the family and they will lock you in a cupboard!!.

I don't worry about crossbelts, but  it's up to you. I paint the muskets black or you can leave em' brown. Paint any swords or bayonets silver. Last of all paint the hat.

The above is of course for horse and musket. The approach to Ancients is roughly the same.

After undercoating brown, it's tunics ( or the bits of tunic I can see!). Next, it's faces, then weapons , shields and helmets. With ancient, it's shields and weapons that people notice. If you think this is a bit lazy (weeeellll!!), put the strip on the table about a foot (300mm) in front of you. This is how you will be using em'. Now, how much can you see??. You can see (geddit!) where I'm coming from.

All the above is pretty basic, I  know , but hopefully it will help get things cooking. I haven't mentioned about 28mm because the larger the figure the more detail to be applied so it takes more time to do fewer figures. These days, there are also 15 and 28mm figures in hard plastic that involves sticking body parts together. They are extremely well detailed. Personally, I steer clear of these because I become fumble fingered when I'm  against the clock! I like to crack on with the painting. I will assemble stuff but I don't like spending lots of time on it.

Thus we have come full circle. So, have a think, look at the space, look at the time involved, and the finance and all being well  all your efforts will end up as part of your game and not part of a jumble sale.

Next time we will look at the scenery and its effect on gaming.The picture below is of some Peter Pig AWI FIGURES being painted as Prussians and Austrians. The white flag bearer on the left a Miniature Figurines converted Russian infantryman.

Monday, 8 October 2018

The Beginning of my Blogging Adventure

Well, here we are. My first venture into the 21st century art of on-line war gaming.

I'm Michael and i've been a wargamer for around 48 years. I have tried numerous systems of play. I have to say that for me personally, using a grid of squares works every time. I also have a slight disability which also reflects on my choice of gaming.

There is also another aspect to this euphemistically known as "Gamesmanship". Have you been in a situation whereby you are watching your opponent measure to move and you just know that they have moved that extra distance to either gain the advantage or to get themselves out of trouble. When questioned about this manoeuvre they either;

A: mumble into their beer mug that there was no difference,

B: point to some obscure rule in the small print that its allowed on any day with an "A" in it.

C: More often ,stomp up and down waving their arms about and shouting a lot whilst the face has turned such a colour as to prompt your Memory on CPR procedure!!

 Well, all these moments have happened, including an episode where I had to stop members of our gathering engaging in activities covered by the Marquis of Queensbury!

My starting point in the hobby was Don Featherstones Battles with Model Soldiers and everything moved on from there. However for all the reasons  stated above, war gaming on a grid is where I'm at.

Hopefully in time, I  will be able to bring you more news of the methods I  use and how I employ them and also some decent pics once I have a firmer grasp on the tech!!